Learning with Images


What’s going on in this photo?

This is a picture that a friend of mine from high school posted recently on Facebook. I absolutely love it. It’s from the early 60’s and she is the sassy young lady arms akimbo by her sister’s carefully posed stance. The dress with the Peter Pan collar, the ankle socks, and the defiance to perfect behavior capture the joyful attitude. It makes me smile every single time I look at it. Can we all agree that we love that child in our classroom, even when we reprimand them to behave?

For pedagogy purposes, the use of images allows a deeply authentic activity for students. With this image a teacher could ask students to write a story about this picture, analyze the personalities of siblings, or ask students to identify/research the era of the photo based on the clothing and accessories.

Based on personal experiences, a student can identify with either one of these sisters. They can project those experiences into a story. The main purpose in implementing photos can further develop the cognitive activity through connection of both experience and creative thinking. With the use of technology, a single photo can be shared to a classroom of students and each can find their voice through writing. These types of activities encourage the learner’s autonomy and confidence and they also promote empathy because when we connect with people and places, we find our similarities.

Photo property of Grace Penny Fair

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